The 74 Sport Yacht shares many design traits (and a thrillseeker’s flair for speed) with its stablemate, the Predator 74, – but piles on more for its guests’ comfort and entertainment.
“If you were to compare the Predator and the Sport Yacht to cars, the Predator is a Porsche 911 and the Sport Yacht is a Panamera,” says Sean Robertson, sales director at Sunseeker International. “It still has the performance, it still has the looks, but it offers more practicality. For us, that’s how the Sport Yacht was born.”
Sunseeker began making this line when it noticed a missing link in the market offerings after the 2009 financial crisis. “The first of the Sport Yachts tried to marry a flybridge with a Predator and, to be honest, it’s difficult to keep that DNA, the looks and the performance,” says Robertson. “You add height, equipment and weight, which sometimes doesn’t sit happily on a Predator-configured hull.”
More than a hybrid, the 74 Sport Yacht shows the evolution of this species: Predator looks combined with more liveable spaces to create something entirely new. The two models share the same succession of three progressively larger hull windows with long expanses of black glass divided by white, tooth-like jags of hull and the same taut, forward-reaching curves. “I think that the 74 shows what can be done with the Sport Yacht concept,” says Robertson. “You’ve got the great looks, the great curve appeal, but it still takes on the new values that we want for the brand.”
Bryan Jones, marketing manager of Sunseeker, explains more about the direction they want to move in. “We’re thinking more about comfort; glazing now is larger for more light and usable space,” he says. “But we’re also thinking about the environment; designing more efficient hull shapes and systems.” To this end, the yard has teamed up with Blue Marine Foundation on Project Menorca, to preserve the island’s marine environment.
Boarding the Sport Yacht, it’s clear how the design makes the best use of every space. Built into the transom, above the hydraulic beach platform, there is a convenient fold-down bench on top of access points to the tender garage, and an en suite cabin for two crew members. The aft guest cockpit has a table with banquettes and large sunpads on a platform to stern, and the table can adjust in height and fold out to become an additional sunbathing area.
One spectacular feature of this area is invisible at times: the 74 Sport Yacht has cockpit glazing that can slide across to open like a conventional glass door but can also hydraulically lower to disappear, leaving the saloon and cockpit as one space. The saloon’s large windows are without mullions for uninterrupted views, and additional light shines through the sunroof above the helm. Lightness and brightness are picked up in the lines of the clean, modern furnishings that include a U-shaped sofa and table facing a bar that conceals a flat-screen television.
Moving forward, twin helm seats are flanked by a love seat to one side and a door to the side deck on the other. The foredeck has another large sunpad and a U-shaped banquette around a table – a perfect spot for drinks or a quiet meal.
The galley and guest cabins are on the lower deck. In the three-cabin version, the owner’s cabin with en suite is amidships, aft of the galley, and uses the yacht’s full beam to its advantage. The VIP is forward with a twin cabin starboard. Families might find it convenient to put guests up in the fully private owner’s cabin using the VIP and the twin cabin themselves as they are on the same level and work well together as a suite. All cabins are en suite and receive fresh air through opening portholes inserted into the hull windows.
If the layout, materials and furnishings seem familiar to those who have already boarded the Predator, there is a good reason. “Realistically, the Predator 74’s main and lower decks are the same as the 74 Sport Yacht’s,” says Robertson. “The layout and the systems are the same. The differences begin at the hardtop moulding.”
While looks and performance cues come from the Predator 74, it’s the addition of the flybridge that sets the 74 Sport Yacht apart. “That was the key: to give clients this practicality and extra entertainment space without ruining the Predator style,” says Robertson. “The Sport Yacht has the flybridge, but unless you really concentrate on the side profile, it’s so well hidden it’s almost lost.” Jones confirms that designers at Sunseeker worked hard to keep the flybridge low, incorporating it into the silhouette. This means the Sport Yacht keeps its precious DNA while adding an outdoor helm station and the seating, dining and sunbathing spaces that make it an ideal option for owners who want to enjoy a fast run in the sun with family and friends.
With the addition of the flybridge, the 74 Sport Yacht has kept the Predator’s capacity to thrill while adding a dimension of its own. “Depending on the propulsion package, you get 35 to 40 knots’ boat speed,” says Jones. “And it’s about that flybridge helm,” Robertson picks up. “You’re higher up, outside. You put the boat up to 38, 40 knots, crank it into a hard turn and it’s just an amazing feeling,” he says, clearly reliving the fun. “It just puts the biggest smile on your face to be on a yacht that size, up that high. That performance and agility on a big boat really is good fun; that’s what it’s all about.”
Sport Yachts have quickly evolved to claim a market space of their own, as Robertson confirms. “The market has changed again; the Sport Yacht is a new niche,” he says. “Now everybody wants that variant of the flybridge on the Predator. Clients are really enjoying it because they’re getting the best of both worlds.” The 74 Sport Yacht shares the Predator 74’s pounce with the spaces you need to enjoy the chase in good company. It’s likely to be many 21st-century owners’ natural selection.